Required classes still beneficial for students on specific career path


Junior Kiren MacLeod sits amongst his fellow debaters in scrubs. Though some students know the career path they wish to take, many believe the broad spectrum of classes they take still benefits their knowledge. Photo by Kris Cho

Ji-Sung Lee

As the anticipation to leave high school and enter a new set of doors rises, selecting a future career can be stressful.  Many high schoolers hope the wide array of classes they take will help narrow down the difficult decision.
By ingraining certain aspects into their head, some find they already have a path in mind they wish to take. However, for a handful of other students, their education is only working to teach them which career path will be most fitting.
For junior Sam Ventrillo, cooking in the Columbia Area Career Center in Culinary Art 2 is more than just baking delicious treats.  The culinary field is his future, the job he sees most fit his interests and the one career Ventrillo sees himself making his own business in.
“I am definitely interested in the culinary field. I have had the chance to work in the restaurant side of the field and I certainly enjoy it,” Ventrillo said. “I’ve worked at the Wine Cellar and Bistro for the summer and during the year so far and have learned a lot and been able to utilize what I’ve done in culinary class within my job.”
For the few high schoolers like Ventrillo who know exactly the plan they want to follow, choosing classes and applying to colleges may save them a couple of steps.  On the other hand, sophomore Zainab Ibitoye  believes despite knowing every detail to one’s future, taking a variety of classes is the best way to be well rounded.
“Even if you think a class might not seem helpful, it actually can benefit your future indirectly,” Ibitoye said. “If you take French and you want to be a doctor, you might not see any correlations, but it can help you by having good communication skills with somebody that might not speak the same language as you. Taking these variety of classes also helps you to realize what you actually want to be when you grow up.  It’s also a good to have knowledge in a broad spectrum of topics.”
For Ventrillo, getting the experience to prepare and plate food at a restaurant is what gave him the desire to continue focusing on the culinary field.  Though he has a strong sense of what he’ll do after graduation, similar to Ibitoye, he stills believes in taking required classes that may not directly benefit his career path.
“Core classes are still important even if they don’t affect you because I know that some careers aren’t so set in stone.  I know that many opportunities can arise in the future,” Ventrillo said.  “Then you can utilize skills that you’ve learned in your core classes even if at the time they don’t seem helpful.”
For students who don’t know if science or English is their calling, the required courses might be beneficial to choosing their career by allowing them to narrow down options they like. Besides giving them the option to confine their choices, social studies teacher Austin Reed said the broad spectrum of required courses also provides room for error.
“I would say as a student, what they think they might want to do will change,” Reed said.  “I have 15 year olds that say they’re going to do this, and something funny happens when you are 35 years old, and you realize that you still don’t know what you want to do with your life. Your interests change, and I know that is not what school folks want to hear, but just in case, it’s good to have a plan B.”
Despite having a fall back by taking requisites for graduation, the idea of attending more classes than ones that apply to a single subject or field can be beneficial to any student alike. Reed said while students who plan on following a specific path may see themselves exactly how they visioned, others realize that their time in high school can only help them decide what the future holds for them.
“It is good to be well rounded, and I think there’s value in using your brain to think about different topics,” Reed said. “I also think it raises your overall intellect if you think through different subject areas.  Even if you are sure you want to be a historian, you might question why you have to take math. All that stuff is just going to make you smarter even though you might be set on being one thing as a career.”